Southwest Reveals The Cities That Will Get Hawaii Services

After speculation that’s been going on for years (indeed, I’ve been covering the murmurs since at least 2010) Southwest Airlines announced plans to fly to Hawaii back in October. They’ll initially operate with 737 Next Generation aircraft and eventually replace those with longer range 737 MAX planes.

The plan remains to begin selling tickets this year with flights operating next year. And they’ve confirmed they won’t just fly from the Mainland to Hawaii but will also offer interisland flights as well — though those won’t come at least until the end of next year.

They’ve confirmed service from Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, and Sacramento and expect to fly to Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Lihue.

Southwest also says that its fares will be lower than those of competitors. No doubt initially that’s true, to make a splash in the market and because there won’t initially be awareness otherwise (and they don’t sell tickets through traditional online agencies). They expect their Hawaii service to boost credit card customer acquisitions. Aspirational destinations are a key element in driving card signups and spend.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Southwest is actually flying to Kona rather than “Kauai” in your above list, as Lihue is on Kauai. Makes sense they are flying into the four most popular tourist airports in Hawaii.

  2. Southwest is launching a full on assault on Hawaiian. OAK, SJC, SMF, and SAN are all Hawaiian gateways. Alaska has a Hawaii presence there too but if Southwest was really taking on Alaska it would have launched service from Seattle too.

    Skipping out on LA makes sense. LA is a potential bloodbath with lots of capacity already making things cutthroat (which is why you almost never see a cut rate fare out of SFO to Hawaii that doesn’t go through LAX).

    It’s also not surprising that Southwest ducked out of a head to head with United at SFO.

    I was on the fence about Southwest entering the Hawaii market until today’s announcement which included intra-island flying. This will likely be be viewed locally as Go! all over again. I’ll stick with flying Hawaiian on general principle.

  3. @d heitman – really? Can’t wait? I’d put WN on par with UA, at least the junk planes UA flies to Hawaii. And after the initial honeymoon prices things will settle back to about where they’ve been the past 5+ years. I’m hardly ‘excited’ about WN’s product going to Hawaii, more interested to see how the other carriers react.

  4. Glad they are including SMF. Hawaiian has charged much more on their SMF flights than from the Bay Area. Hope the competition changes that.

  5. Given prices are about the same, between HA and WN, I’m flying HA. Hands down HA wins. HA – meals, IFE (depending on the plane), codeshare with other airlines. WN – no meals, no IFE, it’s own frequent flyer program means no thanks.

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